Japan Adventure Tour 2024

Japan Adventure Tour 2024

The Japanese Craft Experience Tour

14-day Japan Adventure Tour – October 15th – 29th, 2024
$5,500 pp for double occupancy, $6,300 pp for single occupancy

The 2024 Tour is Sold Out

Email Adrienne if you would like to be on the waitlist


Kyoto will be our home base, a city known for traditional crafts. Engage in hands-on classes and demonstrations, delving into Japan’s rich craft history. Venture off the beaten path with visits to artisan workshops and craft towns, away from the crowds.

Kumihimo Classes: Classes will be led by the renowned instructor Makiko Tada, held over two (or three) full days at the esteemed Kyoto Institute of Technology. Enjoy hands on attention from Makiko-sensei during the sessions, while concurrently, members of the Kumihimo Society (Japan) will engage in classes instructed by Adrienne Gaskell.

Japanese Craft Classes: In addition to the classes highlighted for our day trips and Kyoto excursions, we’re firming up plans for additional craft classes and demonstrations.  Among the potential options are Sashiko stitching, Boro making, Indigo dying, Shibori, Temari ball creation, and Japanese calligraphy. Travelers will be notified of these activities as soon as plans are finalized.

Kyoto Excusions: These excursions involve a moderate amount of walking, with planned breaks to ensure a relaxed pace. Our itinerary allows for unhurried exploration, with time to savor a leisurely group lunch.

Gion is renowned as Kyoto’s captivating Geisha district with well preserved traditional wooden machiya (merchant houses) and charming cobblestone streets. Our exploration of Gion will start with a stroll through the enchanting Higashiyama District, featuring visits to the Yasaka Shrine and Kiyomizudera Temple. To really enjoy the serene ambiance and sidestep the bustling crowds that later inundate the area as shops and restaurants open, we will embark on our adventure early in the morning. This will not only ensure a tranquil experience in Gion but also affords us the opportunity to explore other popular attractions before they become bustling with visitors.

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove Rather than navigating through crowds, our unique experience unfolds with a hands-on lesson in a bamboo craftsman’s house where you will learn to make your own bamboo LED lantern. But before the workshop, our guide will lead us away from the tourist areas, taking us through the forest to provide insights into the fascinating world of bamboo.

Day Trips: These full-day outings are designed to deepen your appreciation for Japan’s rich history of traditional crafts. While in each city we will explore local sites, enjoy lunch together, and be immersed in Japanese culture by traveling on trains, city buses, and walking on centuries old cobblestone streets.

UJI  More than a millennium ago, the magnificent Byodoin Temple and Ujigami Shrine (the oldest surviving shrine in Japan) were built. The Phoenix Hall of the temple is original, making it one of the few wooden structures to survive from the Heian Period. Uji is renowned for its exquisite green tea, but this remarkable city also hosts a significant kumihimo center. During our visit we will get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into a commercial kumihimo workshop. The beautiful vermilion colored Uji Bridge is well known for its frequent mention in The Tale of Genji, an 11th century work of fiction that is argued to be the world’s first novel. The bridge is just one of many sites that are mentioned in the novel. The city is marked by statues and plaques to indicate locations where the novel’s events occurred.

OMI HACHIMAN  In the late 1500s the town prospered as a business hub in part due to its location along two of the most important trade routes of the era: The highway that connected Kyoto with Tokyo and the shipping route that connected the Sea of Japan via Lake Biwa with Kyoto. Today the town’s mercantile history is reflected extensively around the old town, where we will visit some of the preserved merchants’ homes that have been turned into museums. You will feel as if you have stepped back in time and see what life was like over 500 years ago. The Kawara (roof tile) Museum showcases examples of Japan’s elaborate roof tiles and tells the fascinating story of their history and significance. Later in Kyoto we will take a class and make our own Onigawara – a small, simple clay tile with a demon face.

ECHIZEN  A city of artisans and traditional crafts most famous for the many small family run workshops that make beautiful washi paper. Our journey into washi paper making includes a visit to the Udatsu Paper and Craft Museum, providing an intimate glimpse into the skilled craftsmanship of washi artisans. Then we will head to Papyrus House, an activity center and shop where you will be able to immerse yourself in the artistry during a personalized washi paper-making class where you will be able to craft your own handmade paper. In addition to the many workshops, galleries, and museums Echizen is famous for the Okamoto Shrine, the only shrine in Japan dedicated to the god of paper.  Its interesting overlapping roof design and intricate wood carvings make this a place you will want to linger.

Free Time: Recognizing diverse traveler interests, we provide a minimum of two full days for independent exploration, coupled with some leisurely afternoon free time. Evenings are typically unstructured, allowing for personal pursuits, yet many of our travelers relish the option to convene for delightful dinners and social interactions.

These events will take place in Kyoto, and while not included in the tour, we will provide necessary information and directions for anyone who would like to visit during their free time:
Oct. 15 – Chion-ji Temple Handicraft Market
Oct. 21 & 22 – Jidai Matsuri Festival & Parade
Oct. 21 – Kobo-san Temple’s Flea Market
Oct. 20, 21 & 22 – Kyoto KiyomizuI Ceramic Pottery Market
Oct. 25 – Kitano Tenmangu Shrine Antique & Flea Market* (*see note above)
Oct. 25, 26 & 27 – Kyoto Antique Fair
October – Nighttime illuminations in Gion at Kiyomizu and Kodaiji temples

Kitano Tenmangu Shrine Antique & Flea Market: (October 25th) This is one of Kim and Adrienne’s favorite outings, and while not formally part of the tour, we will definitely be heading out early to be sure and find the best treasures. Should you desire to partake in this delightful experience, you are encouraged to join us.

Meals: Included with the Tour
Breakfast – A daily buffet is provided at our hotel with western and Japanese offerings
Lunches – Six lunches: 3 Day trips, the Gion excursion and on Kumihimo class days
Farewell Dinner – A group dinner on Oct. 28th

The Japan Adventure Tour cost includes:

  • Transportation (while on tour activities)
  • 14 nights lodging
  • Craft classes and demonstrations
  • Guided tours
  • Entrance fees to temples, shrines and museums
  • Meals: Daily breakfast, 6 lunches, and a farewell dinner

The tour starts with your arrival in Kyoto on October 15th. Additional hotel nights can be arranged before the tour starts upon request.

Not included: Airfare to or from Japan, travel insurance, medical insurance and medical expenses, free day travel and associated costs, any meals not listed.

Occasionally, itinerary adjustments may be made due to weather or unforeseen circumstances. Rest assured, we are dedicated to ensuring a memorable trip by incorporating activities that enhance your experience, often leading to unexpected adventures.

This is a small, intimate tour and space is limited so don’t delay, sign up today!

Japan Adventure Tour Representatives:
Adrienne Gaskell, [email protected], 305-301-4976
Kim Tamarin, [email protected], 503-753-4347
Please direct questions to Adrienne or Kim


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